The Worst Things You Can Do to Your Tires

The Worst Things You Can Do to Your Tires

If you were a professional sprinter, you probably wouldn’t take up walking on coals as a hobby. Your feet are what allow you to do your job, and you need to protect them. Yet, many of us do the same thing when we don’t take care of our tires. Some of the actions on this list may not seem like the worst things you can do to your tires, but after a while, you might as well be driving across hot coals.

Neglecting Alignment

I have been guilty of going to get my oil changed and allowing my mind to wander when the mechanic starts talking to me about getting my alignment done. All four wheels are still touching the ground after all. Or are they? When your car’s suspension is misaligned, the tires are not all hitting the road at the same angle. That can lead to the tread of your tires being perfectly fine in some spots but bald in others. The kicker is that you’ll still have to replace the tires anyway.

Bad Driving Habits

Any tire you drive on is going to get worn out eventually, but there are ways we drive that wear out our tires much more quickly. Have you ever noticed skid marks on the road from when a car accelerated too quickly? Skid marks are literally rubber coming off your wheels. Keep that visualization in mind whenever you take off, turn, or brake too quickly. Driving haphazardly over potholes, broken glass, and other road debris is another surefire way of not only wearing down tread or puncturing a tire but also throwing off your alignment, which will wear out your tires more quickly.

Improper Tire inflation

When most people think of improper tire inflation, they think of driving on underinflated tires. Underinflation is murder on your wheels, causing tires to wear out up to 25% faster and leading to tire failure and blowouts—but it isn’t the only way you can improperly inflate your tires. Overinflation comes with its own problems, such as losing tread in the center of the tire and being more prone to pothole damage.

Washing Your Tires Incorrectly

Washing your wheels and tires is an important maintenance step since your car is constantly attracting corrosive materials like road salt, bird droppings, and brake dust. However, if you’re thinking of breaking out the dish soap, you may want to reconsider. The rubber in your tires is composed of several materials that protect them from UV rays and to help them remain flexible. This flexibility is especially important for protecting your wheels from bumps in the road. If you don’t wash your wheels and tires with soap made for the job, you can compromise the material in your tires.

Ultimately, the worst thing you can do to your tires is to not understand them. Keeping off the coals is as simple as knowing what is best for your tires and acting accordingly.

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Sue Baxter